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tv   Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 15, 2011 1:00am-6:00am EST

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i recognized that there could be disagreement on this. i do have the basic question, in light of this accusation, do you believe that you need to make changes in and how you keep them informed? >> certainly, i am very interested in improving communication among the five of us. >> and if you had to do it again, would you have invoked emergency powers without consultation with this commission? >> all of the actions i took in regard to the japan responds in general, i am very comfortable with. >> ok, so you are comfortable with an event on the other side of the world taking away these people's rights to have full and complete access and a vote?
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you are comfortable doing that without consultation, even though, in fact, it there was no direct threat to the united states and they were available? you are comfortable in not consulting with them? >> -- >> ok, that says it all. >> the time has expired. the time has expired. >> finish answering? no, no, i did not cut him off. >> i am not sure if you were asking the question or if you wanted a response. >> i asked you if you were comfortable with not consulting, and you said you were comfortable with not consulting, you're comfortable with what you did, when, in fact, it was pretty extraordinary, and it was an event on the other side of the world, and this lady and gentleman were available, and yet, they did not seem to know that their powers had been usurped so that you could run the show, even though you are
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not a nuclear engineer, and several of these people are, so are you still comfortable with that? >> well, i am very comfortable with the actions that -- as an agency, and i did provide a tremendous amount of information to my colleagues, including personally greeting them about the status of our response and the issues we were looking at. their staff was fully aware in multiple briefings that they were provided, sometimes up to four times a day, on all the issues we were looking at, and again, when we are in an emergency situation like this, the authorities are transferred to the chairman in order to ensure timely decision making, and the event in japan i think demonstrated that that was the appropriate way to respond. been -- >> we now recognize the general and from massachusetts -- the gentleman from massachusetts. >> we generally get along pretty
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well. when there is one minute and 20 seconds on the clock, and you are asked to yield, it does not really speak to a bipartisanship approach in a hearing like this, and i was going to ask you whether or not to totally disregard the inspector general's findings or wish us to. if this were to be a bipartisan hearing, then i would think we would put some weight on the inspector general's conclusions, which are contrary -- >> will the gentleman yield? will the gentleman yield? >> yes, i will. >> he said he disagreed with the inspector general, that the inspector general was wrong. >> i think he disagreed with one. but agreed fully with the final conclusions of the report. notwithstanding sections 1 and two of this plan, they are hereby transferred to the chairman all the functions pertaining to an emergency concerning a particular facility, regulated by the
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commission, including responded, issuing orders, determining the specific policies, directing the public and coordinating efforts relative to such an emergency. >> will the gentleman yield? >> in the end, i will, if i have time. if congress enacted legislation that said the chairman would be the spokesman and thereby transferred all of the functions that i read, and it is possible that they delegate authority under subsection b, and informed them to what is related. they shall run a complete and timely report. mr. chairman, did you do those things? >> i did, in i believe i did much more. -- and i believe i did much more. >> what i think is that there is a disagreement of what the powers the chairman has in the statute. that seems to be an underlying factor, and that is not a new disagreement. i go all of the way back to
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1999, 1990 report on this ambiguity we have on the chairman's role in the commission's role continues, and it goes on. a less than harmonious interaction. it seems the members of the commission always think they have more responsibility, and since they have a large role, and the policy decides but the full commission, and management resides with the chair. it seems to be the same thing going on now. i look at a report going on in the commerce and energy committee, and i am troubled, troubled by the fact that his conclusion in that report draws some very concerning point. he says after all of the records that he asked for, voting records, emails, memoranda, materials related to the event at fukushima or the nic's response to it, he said the attempted to delay or otherwise
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affected, he says they conspired with each other to delayed the release of an all to the task force report on fukushima. he says that the other commissioners attempted to slow down or otherwise impede the adoption of the safety recommendations made by a task force, and he said the chairman, greg jaczko, kept people informed and that a review of documents indicate high levels of suspicion and hostility directed at the chairman. in consideration of the safety upgrades, it is not the only safety-related issue that the other commissioners have opposed. that concerns me. it concerns me when four members have findings like this by another member with his staff, and we come in here and sort of they're up on one. it seems we have a problem with
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everybody here. people have to work with some respect. it is on president that they would send a letter to the white house chief of staff. i am not sure it is a good president, as opposed to trying to work things out. mr. chairman, any of these six items i read, do they seem to be accurate? >> well, it has been challenging a thing to move forward on some of the task force regulations, and i would not want to -- i think we have had some challenges. >> the event at fukushima? >> there is definitely an attempt to prevent release of the support. -- release of the report. >> there is certainly a disagreement about providing a transparently to the public. in the end, the majority of the commission wound up providing
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the report. there was a lot of internal disagreement. >> i yield to the chairman. >> your time has expired, and you did not give me any, and i understand how important your question was. with that, go to oklahoma. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks for being here. as others have mentioned before, this is a tough spot to be a to come to to talk about and have functioning conversations because we have a tough time in congress ourselves. the issues remain that the decisions that made are significant in this, and i want you to know that we appreciate the work that you do from day to day. this has got to be worked out. it is an unprecedented action to say this could affect safety if we do not work this out. so thanks for coming forward on it. thank you for working with us. with that, let me ask you a
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question. you made a statement that sippy is the top concern. tell me your nuclear background, just a brief statement. i have your biography. but make a brief statement. >> most is in the government. i worked as a political appointee, and i was in charge of the nuclear infrastructure associated with the civilian nuclear technology program, and there were 25 of contractors. there was a spot where we were overseeing the reactor operations. >> any of those operations, in this environment, i assume you have very competent people around you that are all well studied, all well researched, and to have disagreements on things. has something like this occurred in other places you have work to say you have four or five colleagues that disagree, and it breaks out in something like
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this? have you seen something like this in the past? >> no, i have not seen that. >> my concern is that this is not just an issue of disagreement. my concern is that this is how things are led by one divisional -- one individual or another. i appreciate your statement saying you are passionate about safety and that all of these arguments and disagreements and lack of communication breaks down to the fact about your passion about safety, but this of its two that you are more passionate about safety than everyone else is, so it just becomes more he did to you or more -- it becomes more heated. you are more passionate about safety than the other commissioners? >> well, congressman, -- >> r. anymore, but it and more passionate about safety than the other commissioners?
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>> that is certainly not a judgment i would make, but i am passionate about safety. >> more so than the others around you? you look at them, and you say they lead other directions, aside from safety, that i am more passionate about safety, is that your concern? >> i would leave it to others to judge. >> i am asking for your opinion because it leads to your management style. do you consider yourself more passionate about safety than your colleagues, yes or no? >> i am not sure how i would describe more or less passionate, but i am passionate about safety, and that is the best i can tell you. >> that is a nice, safe answer. i am just asking a question because if in the back of your mind, if you're thinking of this is really going to be done right, all i am going to have to do it, because they are not as
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passionate as i am, because i am trying to figure out why some people get information and other peoples do not, and it's filtered through, because if you have in the back of your mind that i am concerned for our nuclear safety, so i have to filter what gets to them because it may not be right, i just wanted to know, because that does affect your own record, so yes or no, are you more passionate about safety than others, or do you have a concern that some other commissioner is not as concerned about safety as you are? >> in regard to the information coming to the commission, if that is the basis, the commission gets policy matters and i am rarely involved in an information. >> let me ask you a second question. there is a statement that has been made that you reportedly at
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one moment said about the two other democratic appointee is that we democrats have to stick together on a vote. is that a statement that you made? >> i do not recall making that. >> ok, my time has expired. >> will the gentleman yield? >> yes, i will. >> do you have sourcing for that statement? >> my time has expired. >> chairman, a piece of administrative business. the chairman from ohio has asked for the individual members to report, a place in the record. i have no objections. i do have a request that goes with it. in reviewing it, you delivered it to one of your former employers, and you delivered to him unredacted information beyond what this committee received through our request.
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would you give to was in the same unredacted formed everything, i repeat everything, that was responsive to mr. markey? >> absolutely. as you know, we have provided a large number of documents. >> i appreciate that, but providing documents less productive than we did, i have no problem with this being placed in the record, but in order to make the record complete, we would need to have the same information, which we do not have today, and quite frankly, we expect normally that what is redacted is redacted for good and proper reasons, and there should be no reason whatsoever unless there are demands for unredaction, so if you say that, i withdraw my reserve. >> i think the chair for putting that in the record, and i think we should be able to receive
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additional information. >> i think members on both sides. >> i can only speak for the documents that were in my possession. some of them may have been provided by other members of the commission. i am certainly not aware of any documents that were redacted differently, but again, i can only speak to those. >> the good news is that one and i know about the executive branch, you do this very carefully. i am sure we will not have a problem getting the same information, and sometimes people interpret what somebody once differently than somebody else. in this case, we want everything that mr. markey wanted for the same reason of doing our job. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is quite a spectacle to have five members of the commission arguing about management style before a committee of congress
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that in and of itself erodes confidence in the function of the commission. one does not know who has done what to whom and how important it is. the suggestion of easily by having a hearing is this has the potential effect of undermining that confidence, and obviously, the chairman is the target. i regret that, because i think we are at risk of trivializing your mission. it may be less about management style and more about the mission and how well or how poorly the nrc has carried out that relationship, it's cozy relationship with industry, its ability to cogently take lessons learned from tragedies, such as
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fukushima. its ability to reassure the public of safety and safety standards at nuclear power plants, and its ability to show demonstrable, clearly independent from the industry it regulates. it is just as a viable what is going on here is that we have a chairman who takes the mission seriously, as it is to say we have a chairman jubilees his fellow commissioners. i do not know what the truth is, but i do think this hearing ought to try to get to it. chairman jaczko, do you see a philosophical difference between the fellow commissioners about to go about it? >> we do have a lot of different approaches as to what we believe is safe and how we define safety, and i think that is clear in the different votes
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that we cast and the positions that we take. >> specifically with fukushima, you answered a question about fukushima a little while ago to the colleagues, and you confirm that there was an attempt to perhaps bury some of the findings of that study and/or to aggressively look at lessons learned from the single worst nuclear disaster in history. >> we did have a disagreement. >> you did. you did. is that what you said? >> that is correct. >> ok, go ahead. >> about whether or not the report should be reviewed by the commission prior to ever being released publicly. >> what was the nature of that dispute? >> it was simply that i believe it should be made publicly available, so the public could see. >> your commissioners disagreed with that?
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>> there were some disagree and wanted to report and perhaps acted on the commission before it was released publicly. >> on the 23rd, we had an earthquake on the east coast, which surprised everyone, including in my home state of virginia. we had a close call at the north anna nuclear power plant as a result of that earthquake, which did generally cosmetic and minor structural damage up and down the east coast, but it was a reminder that nuclear power can be vulnerable to seismic activity. that plant was deemed as exceeding its design basis. can you explain that to us, and what was the nature of the concern after the august 23 earthquake of >> when they are designed, and they pick up the
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characteristics of the earthquake, and this is to be able to withstand that type of event, and the earthquake, in fact, was bigger than the earthquake that was hypothesized in the original design of the facility, so there was some shaking of the building that was larger than what was originally in the original analysis for the plan. >> potentially compromising safety? >> it certainly had the potential to compromise safety. >> other things that were similarly affected or could have been? >> we did not see anything that is directly impacted because that was very close to the center of the earthquake. it was certainly possible that they could have experienced effects from the earthquake. >> what action did the nrc take, and was the commission in agreement or in disagreement about those? >> the commission or the agency really reviewed the safety of
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the facility, and ultimately, it was a staff physician to determine whether or not the facility should we start, and i was very clear with the staff that they needed to do what was appropriate for safety, and, in fact, the commission held information briefing. and there was a strong showing of the commission working as a body. >> centrally? >> yes. >> my time has expired. i hope we have a chance to explore that more. >> thank you, chairman. i will recognize myself and ask the commissioners a series of quick questions and expectations, hopefully equally quick answers.
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to discharge -- >> i am concerned about where this is being compromised. >> that you lost confidence in his ability to lead? >> yes, on the basis of his interpersonal context, i have. >> commissioner, same two questions to you. have you lost confidence in his ability to lead? >> that is a very complicated question and hard to answer yes- no. i am sorry. i think that over the time that i have been a commissioner, i have been able to get information that gives me enough confidence to make votes and decisions. there have been times when getting the information has been more difficult than i think it should have been.
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my biggest concern is that there is always the chance that there is some piece of information that i did not know existed and never got, so as far as i know, i have had the ability to make decisions. i have questions. i have doubts. i have concerns. >> commissioner ostendorff, my questions about the chairman's style has been primarily about the interface with our nrc staff. he has been abrasive. he uses the term passionate. i will say it has prevented staff from feeling comfortable they can bring forward their best things to the commission, and from that standpoint, i think that is a grave concern. >> have you lost confidence in his ability to lead >> at this stage, i have. >> commissioner?
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>> so far, my votes have not been affected adversely by any action of the chairman. in fact, in the letter to the chief of staff, we said that there may be some harm in the future if this continues. i believe if the chairman -- to views when various issues come before the commission, and if he also withdraws his temper a little bit, he can continue to lead the commission. >> chairman, there was an apology issued. i do not know if you drafted it or if the white house drafted it. who drafted your apology? >> there was a letter to mr. daley. i am not sure if that is the letter. >> have you apologize to more
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than once? >> i said in the letter that i was sorry for the destruction that this has caused. >> is that the only thing you are concerned about, the distraction? anything that was alleged today? >> many of these accusations i am hearing for the first time. >> that does not impact whether they are true or not. that you have not heard them does not mean that they are not true. my question is simple. are they true? >> i do not believe they are true. >> i do not believe they have been true, have you been formally abusive to female staff? >> i have not. >> have you asked anyone if they are on your team? >> i have never said that. chairman, let me tell you what i think it looks like. my background is not in nuclear science. when you have four i witnesses that testified to something under oath, do you know what they call the defendant after that?
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an inmate. four eyewitnesses to the conduct. it is on president to have employees say this privately, but to sit on either side of you and do it before congress is to be unprecedented. none of the allegations they have made are accurate. is that your testimony? >> i believe that in many of these instances that they have brought you have been misconstrued, and as i indicated, there are issues where i think we can improve. >> so what did you apologize for? >> i apologized as indicated for their misunderstanding. >> did to apologize because they misunderstood what you did? >> i said to my colleagues that we sit down with a third party, someone that we can all agree on. because >> a counselor for the nuclear regulatory commission?
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we need a counselor for that? >> i am very interested in improving the communication. >> does it matter to you that the four of them either have or are losing confidence in your leadership. does that matter to you? >> that is very important. >> but to deny the allegations that they testify to under oath? >> congressman, i think i have answered that question. >> do it again for me. >> as i said, i think i answered this question to the best of my ability. >> we recognize the gentleman from illinois. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i would like to yield 30 seconds to my colleagues from ohio. >> with all due respect, these allegations are not allegations
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of criminal conduct, they are allegations that he does not along with his fellow commissioners. that is not a basis for imprisonment or even having the chairman resign, so i think that we have to put this in perspective and continue to insist that the commission focus on safety, and i want to take this opportunity to wish all of the members of the commission in happy new year. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me first of all think the witnesses for appearing. i want to shift gears a little bit. in july, the union of concerned scientists issued a report in terms of nuclear power after fukushima. common sense recommendations for safety insecurity. this report includes recommendations for changes the nrc should make to improve the safety and security of u.s. nuclear plants. one recommendation made was that
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the nrc regulations should be extended to cover severe accidents. this is what the reports say. the nrc defines severe accidents as those more serious than the so-called designed bases accident that u.s. reactors are to sustain, where accidents can occur, as in fukushima, and cause substantial damage to the reactor core and failure of the containment building, leading to large releases of radiation, for example, the agency does not evaluate or testes severe accident management guidelines that owners have voluntarily developed, but neither the nrc or the public can be confident these guidelines will be effected. mr. chairman, i understand that
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there has to be a reasonable limits on what they are required to do and that every plant cannot be fully prepared for every imaginable worst-case scenario. the situation and fukushima it should provide a wake-up call that accidents can and do happen. this is a prime example. this was the worst case scenario. industry was not prepared, and it resulted in the worst environmental disaster in our nation's history. would you agree with that statement? >> yes. >> would the gentleman suspend for just a moment? we are going to have a minority hearing in a few moments, because that is a right, and i want to make sure that everyone understands i have been very tolerant, but this hearing is not on nuclear safety, and we are not a committee with nuclear
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safety as a direct oversight. this is on the leadership of the nuclear regulatory commission, and although i will allow anything you want to do with your five minutes, i have always been very understanding. i would caution members on both sides of the aisle that this is about a concern that has been legitimately raised, all of the way to the white house, that the committee believes is well within our unique jurisdiction as the oversight committee. we are not the energy and commerce committee and so on. the gentleman can continue. the chairman can answer. but if we're going to make this about nuclear safety, we have essentially hijacked a legitimate issue, and anyone who does it, shame on you. >> ranking member, just a clarification. a question that the gentleman asks. but part of this hearing goes to safety.
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and whether this commission can function and carry out its safety responsibilities. as a matter of fact, there is a majority report that came out that talked about the catastrophe, and i use that word because that is what was said at the commission, and that they would not be able to function properly. >> i think the ranking member. -- i thank the ranking member. >> this does not go to the capability to manage. hold on. the fact is, i respect every member of this committee. i was not this way when we are in the minority in a couple of cases.
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one member visibly remembers to -- being told to shut up. usurer five minutes any way you want. this is not over directly second-guessing safety but, in fact, our oversight of our entire federal work force and agencies. so i would only ask that we do as much as we can to recognize that if there is an additional hearing, and if we can legitimately hold a hearing on the safety of our nuclear the city's more broadly, that is a legitimate hearing to ask for. this hearing was very narrow, and had to deal with exactly why the ranking members -- >> just briefly, there are two points that i want to make briefly. i think it is important at this time and place that we have the hearing. the second place that relates to the concerns of mr. davis, is, for example, the industry is upset with this chairman, and
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they would go through the members of the commission to try to get at the chairman, the industry might be upset because of safety. this is just a hypothetical. i think there might be a connection. >> i completely agree with you. if, in fact, the line of questioning goes, quite frankly, the intent and the reason behind two appointees, somehow making an objection that is not based on the allegations of mismanagement or particularly of an outburst and erratic behavior, you are absolutely right. those kinds of questions certainly fall within the question of management of the nuclear regulatory commission and would be in order. mr. davis, i apologize if you want to take additional time. >> i want to thank you for the manner in which you are conducting this hearing. i am very grateful. >> thank you. mr. davis.
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>> it is difficult for me to understand in any way, shape, form, or fashion, and, quite frankly, we have not gotten to my question yet. the mission of the regulatory agency is very important to me. the mission. and the outcomes of the decisions that are made. no matter how much you may disagree, i of difficulty with management style and with personality differences. in the end, the bottom-line is do we make the best and most effective decisions for the people of this country and of the environment that are impacted and affected by those
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decisions? so, mr. chairman, my question is, do you feel that the interaction between yourself and other commissioners have had any negative impact relative to decisions that the commission has made? >> well, no. i do not think it has. certainly, i went to work to improve the communication, but, for example, since this letter was worked on, the commission has held nine meetings, where we have gotten together, and been briefed on a variety of different issues. we have held one of our significant hearings related to reactor licensing. we have had our formal sessions where we formalize legal opinions, and as i said
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yesterday, we held a meeting related to fire protection. there is the report that the commission have regular sessions to talk about the agenda, and that is something i had instituted. >> let me just ask the chairman for his indulgence. if they could respond quickly to that. >> without objection, continue. >> the decisions have not been affected by the management issues we have raised. i believe all of the decisions have been made having in mind the safety and the article protection of the american public. and i am personally very offended by the suggestion that
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i am an instrument of the industry in efforts to overthrow the chairman. >> i agree with mr. apostolakis. >> with respect to mr. davis statement, i cannot jon and -- more wholeheartedly agree on the issues of safety. i agree with my colleague mr. apostolakis. but that said, we are still working it into the park environment -- we are still working in a difficult environment. >> the gentleman is trying to get answers. i would like to have that in order first. >> i agree with my colleagues. i think we have been able to
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continue the people's business very well under the circumstances. i think the senior staff has managed to keep the agency focused during whatever conflicts have been occurring. the staff has been focused on the mission of safety. i believe that the agency is functioning to protect safety as well as it ever has, and that does not mean it is easy. >> i agree with his response. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> would you yield to the gentleman from ohio for a few seconds? >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> commissioner ostendorff, i did not call your name. it was a hypothetical, but since you objected, i find that very instructional. >> i yield back.
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>> i thank the gentleman. we now go to the gentleman from michigan. oh, i am sorry. we now go to the other. on the other side. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am very impressed with your experience not only in the industry but also as an administrator. your opening testimony, you talk about the behavior with female and pleased that you have encountered. nonetheless, i find there was a misogynistic environment, and you let the supervisors go. that behavior that those people that you let go, does that compare in any way to the behavior expressed by chairman jaczko?
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>> it was similar in the fact that it was verbal abuse and involved screaming and just a lot of pointed language. the women involved found it very, very emotionally straining. >> and when you let the supervisors go that were being abused, that change, did not prove that improved the situation? >> that we emphasize, i did not really have the ability to sympathize as i would have liked to. >> but you eliminated them. >> absolutely. the very day i found out, they were removed from the supervisors responsibilities and geographically relocated. >> do you think the chairman may be able to be appropriate to protect any further abuse to female members at the nrc? >> i suspected a question like that might come up. i decided to simply present the facts as i understand them and let others make the decision.
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it is not within my power to appoint or remove the chairman. but this is information that people -- >> but it rose to the level of abuse. >> it is very similar to the stories i have heard in the past. you talked about a lack of confidence. do you think there is any way to restore the confidence in this chairman? >> if the conduct were to be completely changed, there is always the potential to rehabilitate relationships. >> commissioner, how do you feel? do you feel that your lack of confidence is reparable, or do you think it is just lost? >> sorry. it has been severely damaged, and once there is erosion, it is extremely difficult to regain that trust. i am not going to say it would be impossible. it would not be impossible but extraordinarily difficult to
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regain. >> i cannot help to sit back and think about a movie with humphrey bogart and him being put on trial by his crew members in a very serious situation, so, chairman, as it has been so far, we are at a point where you have made an apology, and very simply, what did to apologize for? >> well, as i indicated in a letter to mr. daley, i apologized for the destruction, and i look forward to discussions with my colleagues about ways we can further enhance our communication and trust. >> and one of those suggestions is that you have a third party, isaac, a facilitator to try to reopen lines of communications with your fellow commissioners? >> -- >> my concern is if the issue becomes more of maintaining your position as opposed to restoring the integrity of the nrc, what is your course of action?
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are you considering a resignation? >> i have no plans to resign. >> even if it means more on focusing on keeping your job as opposed to the nrc? >> i have no idea to resign because i continue to believe that under my leadership, and the agency has performed very well. we have committed ourselves to safety, and i believe our record shows that very well. >> it is unprecedented where we are today, where you have these four commissioners, and as a student of management myself, i can only say that management by intimidation could have some long-term goals but long term effects are very of course, and a leading by motivation is probably the only way you can restore the integrity of this organization, so i implore you, i beg you, if it insured management position to keep, this must be done through motivating these people to be the best that they can be.
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what is at stake is the safety of the entire country. i yield back. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i yield. >> thank you. >> chairman, would you not agree that what is going on here today and what has been going on for one month now clearly hurt your ability to recruit, retain many of those 4000 people and to motivate them to do their best job? >> i have not seen any drop-off in any of these areas. >> passeau none of this has an effect on any of these 4000 people. >> i think it is unfortunate that there is a distraction, but i think they will continue to do their job effectively. >> ok, now we will go to the german -- judgment. -- gentleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a couple of points. i regret that we are obviously
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here. this is not the personnel committee, and it is regrettable that there is this conflict at the senior level at the commission. number two, do not think that congress is the place to go to resolve this. number three, i assume that each one of the members of the commission is professional and makes decisions based on professional and personal, notwithstanding. it has to do with the safety and the focus on safety. in the state of vermont, we have had an ongoing and somewhat contentious situation involving
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our new look -- are local nuclear reactor, when things like a cooling tower fall down and the reaction of the company that runs it is that it is not really a big deal, that does not provide great assurance, when it is found that there is leaking underground material, underground pipes, that causes significant concern. there is litigation now, and i understand that this body voted on between the state of vermont and the energy company about its future, and i understand that the commission voted by a three- two margin to come in as a
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friend on the side of the company against this litigation. this causes us some concern. safety is my concern, but i just have a few questions. this caused me some concern about active and aggressive the commission is on coming to an issue on the safety standards. the most recent standards were promulgated in 2004. earlier standards that apply had not been met for 25 years, and as i understand, there are currently 47 nuclear power plants that are not in compliance and are requesting yet another 12-year delay. they are basically accommodating a delay on top of the 25-year delay. commissioner apostolakis, i hope i have said that right, could
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you address that? >> yes. a request for exemptions we received regarding the earlier. we decided that this was not working very well. but i wanted to point out, when we say 47 plans or units do not comply, they have implemented compensatory measures. they do not comply with some provisions of the regional -- our original -- they do not comply with some provisions of the original rule, but they do with some. yes >> i only have a limited time. i cannot really ask a lot of
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questions. i want to express to each of you the concern we have about what appears to be a very slow turnaround on the implementation of safety standards, and you know full well that if you are living in the shadows of a nuclear plant, the closer you are, the more anxious you are, but we have examples, and this is what is so profoundly important about the safety focus, is that if something can go wrong, even if we think it will not, it probably at some point will go wrong. that is what we saw in japan. if something goes wrong, the consequences of an event are so catastrophic, and i am preaching to the choir. this is what we live with in vermont, but what we also have with the cooling tower collapsing, it is hard to be comfortable when there are
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leaking pipes, and we are told there are no pipes, and with the investigation, there is. we really need a sense of urgency. a failing to comply with safety standards, because some of the things that happened in the beginning that do not cause harm, they give you some apprehension that an event will occur that does cause harm. so thank you very much. >> we now go to the gentleman from michigan for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and german, for being here. this is not what we expected, certainly not with the nuclear regulatory commission.
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such intemperance and disrespect that the commission no longer functions as effectively as it should. this could still blow of further -- blow up further, and
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this is of importance to us. this strong language is telling. can you or any of the commissioners explain to me why this language was included specific illustrations. i do not want to pick on the university of michigan grads, but, commissioner svinicki, what are some of the key things you would give for its importance? >> i realize the significance of putting my hand to the language. i do not do so lightly. ultimately, it could bring us to the kind of event that we are holding this morning, and i
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regret that, but that language, at the time i supported that. i was comfortable and supported it and recognize the effects of my actions. >> what you put in that language? examples prove -- examples? >> i think people can be passionate without fundamentally the kind of conduct that i have observed. >> any other commissioners respond to that?
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>> bringing forth their best views with respect to how the near-term task force report from japan, where there is a paper that had the knowledge to have been withdrawn back in july, there is also staff complaining to me about how the chairman's office and the chairman responded to their content of the 21-day report, short term actions be taken as a result of fukushima. >> so this goes to safety? >> those two reports go on how the commission should take action. >> any other commissioner responds to that? >> mr. chairman, i went to yield to you sometime, but i do have one final question, so i would be -- if you would allow me to
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finish? >> i will be very brief. for each of the commissioners, do you believe that employees, a professional staff of the nrc have experienced intimidation, hostile or offensive conduct on behalf of the chairman? anything that would be considered to be intimidating, hostile, where offensive by the chairman? any professional staff experience that? >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> ladies and gentlemen, that is the definition of harassment. i hope that we can all agree that that is why we put it in the statute. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. recently, and former commissioner and colleagues suggested that the chairman does not need to be removed from the panel but could, instead, be demoted by the president. and a new chairman be chosen from among the existing members.
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would anyone on the panel like to comment on this potential solution? >> i do not think you will get someone who will say today. i asked that the gentleman have another 30 seconds. >> i guess that is my point, mr. chairman. i probably did not expect someone to answer and say, "yes, i want to be chairman. but i think this certainly indicates a very significant problem with this commission being able to function together in the best interests of this country. the citizens its service. the regulatory responsibility they have. and then, indeed, if this is the problem, to this extent, and be administration is willing to let it go on, we in america have concerns beyond simple management styles, but the
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function of this regulatory agency and responsibly to the american people, thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. if the gentleman would like to respond. >> i appreciate the opportunity. my colleague mentioned a meeting or a telephone conversation i had on the so-called 21-day paper. i believe the committee has an audio recording of that conversation, and i am certainly comfortable with that audio being made publicly available. i believe it characterizes my passion and demonstrates my commitment to open discussions among members of the staff, and my strong interest in them providing the views. if nothing else, i can assure that the commission has the
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information it needs. >> i thank the gentleman. can i get a nodding of heads that we get a copy of the recording for the committee? hearing no objections, i will assume it will be delivered to us. with that, we recognize another for five minutes. >> thank you. i specifically want to welcome commissioner magtwood -- magwood, who worked for a national laboratory, and i think commissioner svinicki to 41 of ours. i have never seen such self alluded behavior by any individual in probably my entire life. the lack of awareness of what is happening here in the commission, it is truly astounding to me. to watch an individual sit here and say that the only thing he
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is responsible for and that he is sorry about is the distraction that has been caused by your behavior. it is really just embarrassing to watch you this entire time that i have been here, so let's really does get down to what is happening here. you believe, and you did not answer this question, and my good colleague over year ask you the question, but you believe that you are more passionate than the other four individuals that are sitting here about nuclear safety? is that not true? just answerare the more passion? are you less passionate? >> my record shows that i have taken positions on safety. >> you are more passive? >> you also believe you have
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better judgment. >yes or no. >> i believe i have good judgment. >> it is better than the other four individuals combined? >> it is up to others to determine. >> you are the ones making decisions that make their lives a living. do you have better judgment, yes or no? >> i have an appropriate judgment. >> you have better judgment. correct? >> as i said, -- >> you will not answer the question. if you believe that your judgments surpasses the others combined. your distraction is interesting. i had a law firm for a while. now i have to manage my
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congressional losses. your management style is bringing some problems to the floor. you are saying that you are willing to work with them. you are not willing to admit that you have done anything wrong. that is what i cannot understand. the only thing he will do is and have donet they you something wrong. isn't there something that has done something unprecedented? >> i take responsibility for this agency. i am willing to discuss these issues with my colleagues. >> you have not done anything wrong. what do you have to discuss? >> no. like to discuss these communication issues. >> have you done anything wrong in your management of this agency?
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>> i take full responsibility. >> for what are you taking responsibility for? name what think you have done wrong. i do not believe they will come here if you have not done a single thing wrong. name one thing. >> i am very passionate about safety. >> it is wrong for you to be passionate about safety? >is it wrong? >> as i said, i'm very passionate about safety. >> what in your passion is wrong that would bring this to a moment that we would have to have four individuals that have dedicated their lives to the safety of their nation, what is
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wrong? in just name one thing. i can name 20 things i have done wrong in my life. you cannot name one thing. >> this is a conversation i like to have of my colleagues. >> it is ridiculous. your answers have been ridiculous. there's no way that individuals with the same passion would be sitting here complaining about you and the staff unless you had done something wrong. it is ridiculous to think that under any circumstances you're going to change their behavior. you are not willing to make you did one thing wrong. that is incredulous. i have run out of time. >> went out to the gentleman from new hampshire for five minutes. >> thank you very much.
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i just have a couple of quick questions. for anyone on the panel other than the chairmen, can anyone talk to me about the first report and what conclusions it paid? >> they testified earlier this year. this report focused and covered a number of issues. the contents are on the decisions. there are some other more broad findings on the commission. i would like to reacquaint myself with those findings. >> to the chairman, i seek a
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letter here from december 12. it is issued. he has indicated his ability to rock out for that purpose. on the back of the letter he talks about the development of any recommendations to improve this circumstance. it sounds like he will not take action. is that your understanding? >> i do not want to speak for the administration. they would be looking at the situation. >> would you agree with the assessment that this
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disagreement is over policy matters? >> there are also organizational miscommunications and misunderstandings about roles and responsibilities. >> to me it appears that the report has not improved things. from what i have read and heard, things have further deteriorated. i appreciate your wanting to work with colleagues. there is growing frustration. we're at this level of inquiry. i would prefer that this be handled in one in two ways.
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you say you will take full responsibility. would you consider stepping down as chairman? >> i've no intention to resign. >> i yelled back. >> the chairman is making no apologies for the conduct, only four the lack of. do any the belief that he would have accepted one in the way he is now treating you? >> he served with the chairman when he was a commissioner.
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i actually found it helpful. he tutored me in many of the ways of existing on the role of individual commissioners said they have important contributions to make. >> life was collaborative. he got the idea that all had to work together to reach the vote. this is a very capable commissioner. >> i would characterize it. it was limited to a policy differences at times and not the differences we see now. >> i will ask unanimous consent for a single question. one has been asked repeatedly. for each of the commissions,
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none of you are partisans in the background. you have been accused of being lap dogs for the industry, and not caring enough about safety. is this an insinuation? can you briefly tell me about your passion about safety and how that brings you to each of your votes? >> my sole motivation on serving on the nrc, i have many family members and wisconsin and michigan near power plants. i am concerned for them and motivated by my own family. >> as someone who has worked in
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the nuclear field, i have a very deep appreciation for the hazards presented by the materials. as a result, it is a matter of great responsibility. they want this to be held to a very high standard. >> i am sure you-- i assure you that i have a rigid sense of safety. i'm very concerned on safety issues. i have spent my entire career
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working on nuclear safety issues. i was elected to the national academy of engineering for my contributions. >> i am going to be very brief. as a former navy officer, from within yournce military service, which is much longer than mine, don't you have countless examples you have seen up fallen officers who were technically capable who were relieved because they exhibited behavior that lost the confidence of the people who work for them? >> ps. >> thank you. >> i am listening to all of this. i swear to god this is incredible to me. we are better than this.
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i feel like i'm sitting here trying to referee a fight. i am not a referee. i have not done that since my kids were tiny and now they are adults. chairman jazksco , i do not want you to quit. i do not want you to quit. we will continue to fight for the american people and do what is right. i do not think your commitment and passion and your expertise is any greater than the other commissioners. i think all of you are very wonderful and strong americans caught in a very committed to our safety. i believe you're giving
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everything you got to make things work. you got to do better than this. there is no reason i think why this should have risen to this level. commissioner, we have been trying to get you to limit the you have done things wrong spir. they would have to the ultimate thing that they were wrong when they have things operating within the law. i do not know what they would say. i do know one thing. after 61 years on this earth, i realized something significant, one of the best way is not to achieve a goal is to be distracted. if you look at people who have not a cheap things that they try to achieve in live, a lot of times it is because they got distracted. i have not come to ask you.
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i have come to beg you to work this thing out. i mean, it to sit down like reasonable people and work it out. the american people are tired of dysfunction. they're really tired of us. what you all are doing is so very important. you are not listening to everybody. it withoutou can do exi changing the status. that is what you said. is that right?
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>> that is some of what i said. temper.ld control his he should communicate that there are candid opinions. >> can you deal with that? >> absolutely. >> i keep thinking you have to go back. people are loaded up over there. they like controversy. they are doing all kinds of things right now. now you have been updated. everybody knows your names. i am telling you when all of this is over, you have to go back. the pressure will not hear rid
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of you. you are doing a great job. you need to change some of these attitudes. you have to do that. i beg you for the sake of the american people, please sit down and work this thing out. do what you've got to do. to make it work. >> i would like to make it clear that if this is not get resolved, this is not the last time they will come to review the status of management. we are the committee of the congress. we do look at the management structure. we do so like a board of directors. it is not ours to tell you what to do. it is ours to find at whether or
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not it is being done by prescription alof law. we will respect all the promises made here today. we are the whistle-blower committee. people come to us on the internet by the hundreds for weeks. they expect that there will be no retaliation within any agency of government. to be will force -- we will enforce and protect anyone at any time. people who come before us come protected from the moment they come to tell us something. the only time they're not protected if they are not telling the jury. we will continue to look. we will not tolerate
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retribution. we want you to resolve this. it is not the kind of thing to come before congress. it is not good for anything other than fodder for the press. bear in mind we will be looking at every action of all of you. we want you to do everything you can to live up to your oath. i would hope that as you work with the staff, that you recognize that this is an extraordinary opportunity as the president retains confidence in you to change how men and women believe you are working. at least one commissioner has said very well that he believes that change can happen. to the others did, too. we are ultimately the american
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stock colder board of directors. we will assert our rights if we have to. it will come from both sides of the aisle. i thank you. we will break briefly for a second. we stand in recess. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> for each of the commissioners, do you believe that employees of the nrc have experienced intimidation concepts on behalf of the chairmen, anything considered to be hostile or offensive? >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> that is the definition of harassment. i hope we can agree that is why we put into statute. >> this is regarding a hostile working environment. watch the hearing on line at the c-span video library. this is washington your way.
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>> the head of the nuclear regulatory commission will be back on capitol hill tomorrow to testify for a second day about nuclear reactor safety and oversight. today he is criticized by fellow commissioners on his management style. live coverage at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. later, john core's sign will corzine will testify. >> coming up next, john boehner and sits down for an interview with politico. ben president obama marks the u.s. troop withdrawal from iraq. in case you missed it, watch the nuclear regulatory commission oversight hearing.
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>> sometimes i think it would be best for government to stay completely out of sports. a lot of the times when congress gets involved come at the hearings are television shows designed to give the congress men and women exposure. >> john feinstein on the intersection of sports in government. >> the flip side is a multibillion-dollar country. it has a huge effect on the lives of people. it is in terms of universities and higher education. there's some a different ways it affects our lives. -- there are so many different ways it affects our lives. sometimes the government should be more involved. you can watch the rest of the interview.
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>> for the past few months, we have examined the political lives of "the contenders" that vied for the presidency but lost. this friday we will talk to a history professor and presidential historian to see what they learned from the series. it is friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> up next, a discussion with john painter. he talks with the agenda. we'll also hear from a political reporter.
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>> welcome. we will start today with the first breakfast. turns out we have a matchmaking function. they met at a political breakfast and have been dating ever since. we appreciate your joining us. we have had a bunch of great
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guests, secretary geithner, senator warner, chairman rogers, senator rubio, and we are very excited to have you here. for the final playbook breakfast of the year, we will have speaker john boehner. first we have been jake sherman of "politico" to help us look back. [applause] before i start to pummel him with questions, i would like to thank bank of america for their continued partnership with us. that have led us mix politics, personality, and bank of america has been a sponsor of all of 2011 and they will support us in 2012, so we are grateful for that.
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[applause] reminding about the hash tag playbook practice. you grew up in connecticut. you read the editor of the george washington hatchet. you came to politico in 2009. tell us about speaker boehner. >> it is constantly fascinating, especially this year where we have had these fits and starts and pauses and dashes to the finish line. speaker boehner is an interesting character to cover. he interacts with the press and is very friendly with the press. >> i heard that he will critique what you wear. >> absolutely. whenever i need a haircut, he reminds me i need a haircut.
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today i hope he does not say that. one time i shave my head and he did not appreciate that. sometimes it is ties, or if you are wearing an old jacket, he is someone who pays attention to details. >> you talk about these cliffhanger endings. part of what makes people hate washington -- but reporters are great. >> congress has a 9% approval rating, but historians are always much higher than that. there are meetings in rooms with members where people are always upset with what leadership is doing, and no one can ever get it right until the last moment. even at the last moment, people are upset with the outcome. it is constantly fascinating, and this year has been a dream to cover.
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>> what day are you going to go home? >> i don't know. speaker boehner might be able to answer that. >> it could be friday. the house has passed this payroll package that extends jobless benefits and the medicare reimbursement rate and the senate has to be the next entity to move. it will do so in the next day or two. basically, at this point, the government could shut down because of the payroll tax provision, which is a completely separate provision. democrats in the senate are saying we will not fund the government to we come to some agreement on how to extend the payroll tax holiday. >> do you think that really could happen? >> it is unlikely that they would at the end of 2011, after avoiding it for this entire time.
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but it is entirely possible. the path forward right now is kind of unclear. >> which of these threats came closest to being true? was there ever a time this year when something really could have happened? >> every single time. the government shutdown is the most real. the default on the debt was always kind of a vague idea. there were things to do to get around it. when the government shuts down and president obama says you will not be able to go to the lincoln memorial or get your social security check, that hit home with most people. but they are all real. we are in a town where a lot of people are employed by the federal government, so that is a very real threat to folks who
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work at jobs on capitol hill and around town. >> if you could know anything about congress that you don't, what would you like to know? >> one of my editors always ask me, if you put someone in a room on truth serum, what would they say? that is a constantly fascinating thing to me. >> republicans, do they agree with the hundreds of economists around the country that state revenues need to increase? especially now with the tea party dependent on capitol hill, and the democrats think entitlements should be the same? that is the battle we have been fighting all year. there is a huge deficit. i think that is constantly an endlessly fascinating.
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>> after hours or when they are not on camera, when they let down their hair and they are having a drink, do they acknowledge some of the things you are saying here? do they admit that this is sometimes like wrestling? >> they have dipped their toe in the pool of maybe we should consider revenue. then they go back on to their beach chair. a lot of these guys are political animals, like all of you guys who are here to see speaker boehner. they know what the upper hand is. that is what drives them a lot of the time. that is how they live their political life and their policy life is the next election. that is the cycle we are in, obviously.
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they know this is a big game. >> don't break any confidences, but give us an example. do people more and more admit the obvious? >> saxby chambliss joined with a bunch of democrats and a bunch of republicans. there are 47 of them who said we have to do something about the deficit problem. that was pretty much untenable in the house of representatives. there are times when people say, we know we have to get out of this mess. we know it needs to be solved, we just don't have the courage to do it. that would be the truth serum statement. >> you had a rapid rise from the george washington patch it to "the wall street journal."
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you have covered speaker pelosi and speaker boehner. what is the difference? >> what gets lost in the caricatures of both those people is that speaker pelosi is not the liberal everyone thinks she is. her father and brother were both baltimore politicians. the interesting thing about speaker boehner is a he always says what you see is what you get with me. he is very methodical. things always start at a certain place. he knows where he wants to end up. you could go through turbulence in between. >> he said he was going to have things go through committees. what is the real reason he does that? >> i think he is somebody who sees himself as a steward of the institution. what is interesting about him is he came up in an age of compromise. he did pension reform, education reform.
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>> why don't we see stuff like that happening now? >> the bulk of the 242 republicans, this week they tried to pass jobless benefits and extend a payroll tax holiday. just to get them there, they had to include a provision to build a pipeline and roll back environmental regulations. to extent -- to a lesser extent that speaker boehner was able to do when he was chairman, when he was in the rank and file. he grew up in a different time. >> here is my theory. they like having this partisan divide. they like having it be this way, even though the country doesn't.
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is that possible? >> i think they do. i think they just really think that obama is wrong and they are right. jim jordan, chairman of the republican study committee said the democrats are all over this. obama does not like the keystone pipeline, so that makes me like it much more. i think that is an honest statement. actually, i think a lot of people in republican leadership will admit that what got them -- they oppose the payroll tax holiday for a while. what got them around to it at the end was this package that was filled with trees, and the keystone pipeline. that is what got them jazzed up in the end. that is what got them riled up. speaker boehner said i want to hundred 42 of you to vote for this.
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he was really jazzed up about it. >> one of the lingo terms they talked about is moving product. the president is not going to buy that product, so what is the point? >> many of these folks have not been in government before, so when speaker boehner says this is our package, and then in the week, he might have to compromise with harry reid and president obama, they are like, wait, i thought that was our package. >> the freshman class has turned out to be more or less conservative than we thought? stronger or weaker than we thought? >> one of the things republican leadership has done pretty well is mold their agenda in they do things a around this class. they have been neutralized in a sense.
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they have grown up a little bit in the process. there is a great story about allen west, who was a two-party favorite from florida, republican. he told me i am going to hold john boehner's feet to the fire. when he got here, he was like, maybe we should not shut down the government. less of a factor in that way, but more of a factor in this instep this huge appropriations bill is being held up because republican leadership has to throw all these sweeteners. >> we know some of the ways that former leadership bought them off. what are some of the under the table ways that leadership has tried to amp down the party?
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>> >> the outreach is a lot more than it used to be. that put them in press conferences and make sure they are out there. they make sure they are comfortable. they cannot legally safe if you do this, i will raise money for you. >> they cannot say explicitly, but there are ways. >> some of these folks are going to be in the primaries. during every single debate, there is a pure guys that they go to who have the temperature of the whole thing. tom reid of upstate new york is one of them. they know where the bodies are buried. their aides always say these guys have a problem, we have a larger problem.
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>> a house democrat, house speaker and an emerging leader whose name we may not know who does not get much coverage, who you think will be big in years to come? >> peter rock from illinois, the chief deputy whip. he came in in 2006 in a race that rahm emanuel labored hard to win, the swing district in illinois. here we are five years later, and he has over the $5 million in the bank. there are a lot of freshmen who were going to rise up. tom reid is definitely someone
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to keep an eye on. a lot will be clear after the election on who has the staying power. house democrats are in a different situation because a lot of the leadership is a little older than the republican leadership. the founder of blue mountain on-line cards is someone that leadership loves. peter welch of vermont is definitely a rising star. >> is there anyone who is poor in congress? >> yes, out of the freshmen, there are people who are first- time politicians. >> what is the deal with living in their offices? do they still do that? >> they blowup a cot every night and sleep in the office.
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[applause] >> jake is going to be joining us for questions with speaker boehner. we will have the speaker here in just a few seconds. who would like us to try to get as a guest for "playbook breakfast"? mr. speaker, good morning. thank you very much for coming. sherman told me that you will probably critique what i wear. i got a tie just for you. what do you think? >> it looks pretty good. you have the christmas spirit going.
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it all matches. that is really saying something for a reporter in this town. [laughter] >> this year was a turning point. this year, more than ever, people in america think the process is broken. more and more members will say publicly that washington is broken. you are the speaker. how much responsibility are you willing to take for that? >> there are really big issues that citizens are concerned about. they are concerned about the economy, jobs, the future for their kids and grandkids. as a result, this debate that happens in our country, but sooner or later it all ends up
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in washington d.c. a lot of these discussions are really pretty painful. we are talking about real change. >> this is not the first time in 200 years that painful issues have come to washington. >> i understand that. but when you talk about the scale of change, it is different than what i have seen in the 21 years i have been here. >> how is it different? >> when you begin to look at our debt crisis, people have focused more on it this year than any year i have been here. for the first time in my 21 years here, there has been a serious conversation about dealing with the entitlement crisis. >> there has been conversation, but there has not been serious action. >> howdy save social security, medicare, medicaid? these are important programs, but they are unsustainable in their current form.
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we should begin to discuss these. it is change. the country is probably more divided than it has ever been. i am not surprised that the american people are not thrilled with washington, d.c. >> it sounds like you are taking no responsibility for it. >> i am just a regular guy with a big job. my job is to listen to the american people, work with my colleagues to do what the american people sent us here to do. if you are looking for the most significant change that has occurred this year, clearly it is all about spending. up until a year ago, the discussion was, how much more can washington spend? how much more on this program, that program. corporate welfare, give away programs. the discussion of this year has been about how much we are going to reduce spending. and we inherited a budget halfway through the year, reduced spending in the last fiscal year. we would just be spending again this fiscal year. >> one we have done that is by eliminating earmarks. you said you were going to zero out in remarks. how have you made that stick?
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>> almost six years ago when i got into a race for majority leader, i began a more serious effort on this process of your marks. it was probably not the smartest thing to do in the middle of a leadership election. but it worked. i have never backed away from it. i have never done here marks in the 21 years i have been here. i thought that it corrupted the process. i believed that they had to go. we have been through a whole year with no your marks. we have a big spending bill about to be passed, know your marks. it is something i believe in. it has certainly made my job
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harder, but it is the right thing for the country. >> we have yet another cliffhanger at the end of the year. when will your people go home for christmas? >> as soon as possible. >> that is not going to be friday, right? >> i don't think anybody knows how this is going to play out over the course of this week or next week. i think it is important that we finish our work and get members home. the house is active on the jobs bill. really, the president has no serious objections with it. it may not be quite the way they would put it together, but there are democrat ideas, republican ideas, and while we have our fights over issues and strongly held beliefs, the american people expect us to find common ground and move the ball down the field. it is time for the united states senate to act. it my house colleagues,
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democrats and republicans, have heard all, and more, about why the senate cannot do this or that. guess what, it is time for the u.s. senate to act, and they are going to act. we can sit here and stare each other in the face for as long as it takes, but they are going to act. >> let's talk a little bit about the sweeteners that are being used to get your colleagues to go along with some of the -- the keystone pipeline being a notable one. >> stop. the premise of your question, to put these sweeteners in there. the president and republicans have focused on jobs. you want to look at those things that will help create jobs and
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help create them immediately. the keystone pipeline could be no better example. the president has said that the american people cannot wait. guess what, they cannot wait. then the secretary of state said, well, this keystone issue in this bill creates an arbitrary deadline. the only thing that is arbitrary about the deadline is the president deciding, well, i don't really want to decide this until after the next election. we have had three years of studies. everything is done. everybody knows it is going to be approved. why don't we do it? thousands of americans will we put to work. and another 100,000 that will be affected indirectly. it is all about jobs. >> an objection on your side in the proposal in the manila -- the millionaires' tax, has been that it will hurt small business. it went to the senate republican leadership on the
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house republican leadership. they could not find a small business that would be hurt by the millionaire's surtax. have you found one? >> i used to be a small businessman. i ran a small business. i paid my business taxes as an individual. i know exactly how those worked. it i could rattle off a half a dozen names right here and now. i am not privy to their tax returns, but i have a pretty good idea. >> just name a couple. and >> i have a handful of companies in my district, friends of mine who run small businesses and pay taxes personally. you want to tax those people? almost half of the so-called millionaire's in america are small-business people who have not -- to happen to pay their taxes on their personal tax return. if you ask them to pay more money it will mean less investment back into their
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business. at a time when we are looking for more jobs. i know who these people are. >> who is your favorite democrat? >> i do not know if there is one they were democrat. van dorn is probably pretty close. we have been very close friends. i'm very sad that he is leaving. a good guy who i think is very good for the institution. i have been around town for a while and i'm sure there are some people out there that do not like me, but i get along with members on both sides of the aisle very well. >> to test that, i want you to say something nice about leader nancy pelosi, something nice about leader harry reid, and you cannot mention their families. [laughter]
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>> in the case of leader nancy pelosi, we are actually have a very good relationship. >> would she say that? >> i think she would. we do not agree on policies, but as leaders together over the last five years, we have got a lot of institutional issues that we have to work on together. whether it is campus security, the page program -- i have a long list. >> those are not pressing issues of our time. >> i understand that, but you asked me about my relationship with her. it is very good. on the policy side we have very different beliefs. i do not want to ruin our relationship talking about those things that we might disagree on. just so you understand. senator reid and i understand each other pretty well. we are open with each other, honest with each other.
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he has a job to do. i have a job to do. i think it is important for the leaders to have some kind of relationship. because again, while he has much different challenges than what i have -- i have my set of challenges -- we have to find a way to grease the skids to make the process work together. i'm very up front senator reid. >> as in new year's resolution, are you going to do that better next year? >> i will maintain my good relationship with both my democratic colleagues. >> let's talk about next year. we understand you are going to keep your foot on the gas with jobs. tell us something you will pass next year that the president will sign. >> we have announced this, but we are going to move an energy infrastructure bill. one of our infrastructure problems that america is the lack of a funding source.
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we spent five years stumbling around this issue, maybe seven or eight issues, trying to find a way not to pay for america's aging -- trying to find a way to pay for america's aging infrastructure. at a time when people are asking the question, where are the jobs, we will focus on into a structure to put more americans to work. we will also generate more oil revenues. oil and gas revenues, which i believe can be a very good source of revenue to pay for infrastructure. >> something the president will not sign, but that you will believe -- that you believe will make the biggest difference in costs and jobs. if you had a magic wand? >> i would create a regulatory moratorium for all of next year. the regulatory climate coming
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out of washington is gearing of her body to death. if i'm going to make an investment in america, i want to know what the rules are going to be. nobody can plan today because every agency of the federal government is in overdrive, producing new rules, new regulations that are getting in the way of our economy. >> in an election year is tough to pass this stuff. what is your personal agenda? >> i do believe our energy infrastructure bill is important for the country. it will help create jobs. and bring some certainty to an industry that has been battered over the last several years. >> feddis 1. what else? >> if i had my wish list -- that is one.
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it's what else? >> if i had my wish list, i would like to pass a large debt reduction bill. our debt hangs over the economy and over the american people like a wet blanket. if you want to give people more confidence in america, if you want to give people more confidence in our ability to create jobs, dealing with the $15 trillion debt that is hanging out there and the debt that is coming at us, it has to be dealt with. >> how would you do that in this debt reduction bill, this fantasy bill? >> we have dealt with the discretionary side. not that there is not more to cut on the discretionary side. there are some things there that can be dealt with. i think making sure that medicare, social security, and medicaid are sustainable for long term is critically
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important. >> president obama, you feel like -- president obama. you feel like you have been speaker for almost a year -- you feel closer to president obama or more distant from him? no. i think i feel closer to the president today than a year ago -- >> i think i feel closer to the president today than a year ago. we have talked a sufficient amount of time. we are very different people. but we have very different beliefs about what the appropriate role of the federal government is, but we get along very well. >> what have you learned about how to work with him? what is he like behind the scenes? >> i work with the president like i work with anybody else in this town, up front, straightforward, no games, no gimmicks. that is the way i do business. >> what do you regret about your relationship with the president? >> regret -- i think my biggest regret of the year is that the president and i were unable to come to an agreement on raising the debt limit and taking a serious bite out of our debt. i have spent more time working on that this year than any other issue.
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>> it is fine to regret it. is there something that you would have changed? or do you wish you would have pushed harder with your own people to get the $4 trillion? >> i do not have an issue with my people. we never got that far. the president would never say yes to sirius entitlement reform. >> which your people would not go for. >> we never got that far. i told the president right up front that i would put revenue on the table, but only if you are willing to make serious changes in our entitlement programs, serious reductions in spending. unfortunately, i never could get him to the point where he would say yes. >> it is totally his fault. you do not bear any responsibility? >> i regret that we did not come to an agreement.
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you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink it. >> un the president be to the vice-president and ohio gov. john kasich in golf. -- you and the president beat the vice president and ohio gov. john cage. -- john kasich. >> the president told me he was going to play golf with the vice-president and asked me to join and bring somebody with me. all of you who have dealt with john cage -- john kasich note what he is like.
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i have over 30 years of service to this country. i served on six submarines. i commanded a simmering for three years. i had command of an attack submarine squadron. i have been accountable to the government and white house for ensuring the safety of nuclear power in warships. i take great pride in that service. i take pride in my own decision making in respect to those principles that inch or safety. after retiring from the navy in 2002, i worked at the house armed services committee. -- as a counsel with oversight
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responsibility. subsequent to that, and spent two years in the department of energy. with significant experience in leadership positions, whether it be nuclear weapons or nuclear power, i can say to this committee that i have never seen an environment where the highest level of the organization does not reflect the values shared by the whole. along with the three of my colleagues who signed the letter, october 13, we took the same oath to faithfully discharge the duties of our office. i refuse to be silenced of damage is being done to the work in. -- while work is being done to the work environment. it is important to comment on what a little as an unprecedented action. the letter that was received but thursday evening. this letter is not about politics. it was signed by two democratic
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and two republican members. i regret that that letter is being betrayed as being -- being portrayed as being politically motivated. i assure this committee it is not. it is not about yucca mountain. it is not about internal conflict between commissioners. it is not about other policy disagreements. that is one element of our concerns. with great respect for the white house, i must take exception to the chief of staff letter that mischaracterized the situation of the commission. what is this letter about? this letter is about actions that have eroded the prized collaborative work environment of the nrc. these actions have prevented the commission from being fully informed of the views and recommendations. it is about behavior that is exhibited by one of our licensees would be subject for
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investigation. -- and potential enforcement action. it is about bling and -- bullying and intimidating behavior to career staff that should not be tolerated. in light of our agreement, these actions can not continue. the four of us fulfilled a our oath of office and took private action. -- and took appropriate action and wrote the white house. that letter expressed our concerns. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. commissioner. >> members of the committee, good morning. management and operation of the nuclear regulatory commission is important. my perspective is grounded in my experience and observation as a member of the commission. -- since being sworn in on april
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23, 2010. my former role as a 15-year member and chairman of the advisory committee on reactory safeguards. management and operation of the commission are carried out with old law and policy. the commission's independent and multi-member character is designed to insulate a regulatory decisions from political consideration and to provide stability for regulatory policy. nuclear safety matters are complex. this commission's structure allows for a diversity of insight to be brought to bear in decision making. decision commission's making. the plan at number one of 1980, the commission formulates policy and regulations, issued orders, and conducts adjudication. policy formulation includes administrative decisions with policy implications.
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the commission has ultimate authority to determine by majority vote in an area of doubt whether any matter, question, or area of inquiry pertains to one of these functions. the committee on governmental affairs declared that, "the committee intends the commission to exercise the authority to interpret the plan." the history of the plan and the presidential messages to congress in submitting the plan emphasized that the chairman is subject to the policies of the commission and the oversight authorities of the commission. as principal executive, the chairman has the ultimate responsible to the public for the day-to-day management and administration. and administration of the agency. the chairman is responsible to
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the commission for assuring that the executive director and the staff are responsive to the requirements of the commission. the reorganization plan also provides that the heads of the offices of the general counsel, the secretary of the committee, -- secretary of the commission, and the advisory committee shall continue to report to the commission. the chairman and executive director are responsible for insuring that the commission is fully and currently informed about matters within the function. the reporting relations of the executive director to the chairman is not intended to interfere with the ability to make independent recommendations on matters that the commissioner has delegated to him. while the chairman has special responsibilities, the commission could not function if senior managers were required to misrepresent or suppressed
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their views. the commission is served by it that it's that with many senior managers who bring advanced technical expertise. their technical of valuations are essential to inform decision making. unbiased perspective to the commission for its decision making and oversight is it essential to the agency's mission. i joined my fellow commissioners to formally expressed our series concerns regarding the chairman's leadership. i regret that other motives have been ascribed to the action we have taken. this could not be further from the truth. thank you very much. >> thank you. again, all of your full written
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statements are going to be in the record. i recognize myself for five minutes. who is your board of directors? for the people out there who do not know government, what is the equivalent of your board of directors? >> i would say, i am responsible as chairman for carrying out the policies the commission -- >> are you the ceo? >> i believe the statute describes the chairman as the ceo. >> you view yourself as the chairman. who is your board of directors? >> i would say combination of the commission, the congress as well serves a role in its capacity to oversee the operation. >> are the gentlemen and lady
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next to you, are they your board? >> that is one way to characterize the commission's structure. they are responsible for establishing the policies of the agency. >> if one of these members asks for a boat and four of them vote -- asked for a vote on something and four of them vote that what you are doing is wrong, you consider that to be interesting or obligatory? >> if the commission takes an action and we have a formal procedure to carry out our actions, then of course, they are actions i would follow. >> if they asked to vote to not being locked out of information, would you consider that is your responsibility? to ensure they had full access to information and never again would be denied any information that you had.
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>> i believe the commission has provided -- >> no, no, no, we want the answer to the question we asked. is it true that any information you had has ever been withheld from any of these people on your request? >> not that i am aware of. >> you have never asked to have any information -- basically one of the commissioners just lied under oath is what you are saying. >> i work every day to ensure the commission has the information it needs. >> not what it needs. if i understand the statute,they have a full and unfettered right to everything. they determine, as any commission would, they have to have everything or everything they think they have. what they do not know they have the right to ask and know. is that not true? >> absolutely. the commission routinely asks for information.
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that information is provided. >> they disagree with you. >> you have a background. you are a physicist. interesting stuff i do not know anything about. i will just figured you are smarter than me on anything related to the science. have you ever run an organization? >> this is the first time i have done that. >> what is the largest organization he was ceo of? >> i was responsible for managing my personal staff as a commissioner. >> half a dozen or something like that. >> yes. >> commissioner, as a navy captain, how many people work for you? what's ahead different jobs. as commanding officer i had 150 people. as commander 1200. i was chief operating officer
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for 1200 people. -- 2500 people. 32,000 who were management contractors. >> from your leadership training, from your years in the navy, you have said that its chairman has exceeded any semblance of the kind of authority you believe he should have in his conduct. he has had conduct that does in danger people because it is -- that does endanger safety because it is conduct that is demoralizing to people in an organization that, if my nuclear power plant in my district, if they had someone like chairman jaczko is alleged to be, you would shut down that site.
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you would view them as dysfunctional. is that not true? >> if i understand your question, i do not believe we have been fully informed. -- of the staff's views and the technical analysis. it could impact how we perceive an accident. >> i am going to ask for 30 more seconds. >> i think i would add that there are cases where my office has asked for information and have been told we could not have it. it is pretty black and white. >> the chairman was less than truthful. -- in saying he has provided information requested always. >> i do not want to sit here and say someone was not telling the truth, i will tell you what
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my experience has been. >> thank you. the gentleman from maryland. >> i want to thank all of you for your testimony. i am just sitting here wondering what is going to happen after you go back. we are not experts on dysfunction. the country says the congress is not operating well at all. i did not want to tell you have to conduct your business. i am concerned about the statements that have been made. particulate, chairman jaczko, with women feeling intimidated. that does concern me. as a father of two daughters, that does concern me. i want you to address that. how do you feel about that? the thing that is true? -- do you think that is true? >> i am very passionate about
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safety. all of the things i do are directed towards doing what i think is the right thing for safety. when i heard about the incident referred to, i tried to think through all the meetings we had had together where we had good discussions, disagreements about policy issues. i believe there was one meeting where she may have been referring to as i recall the meeting, i went to office to speak with her about a letter. at a point we were discussing it, she became concerned. i simply motion, i said let's sit down, let's come down, let's work through it. we continued to discuss it. at some point i left. >> is this a situation, when you all go back --
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you have apologize, have you not? >> many of these instances, this is the first time i've heard of these accusations. if there has been a time where i meet someone feel uncomfortable, -- made someone still uncomfortable, i like to know. -- i would like to know so i could take the actions to remedy that. >> you testified before the senate committee on environment and public works that he would never told the chairman was operating under his emergency authority until the office informed the senate. do you remember when that was? do you remember how far after the earthquake and tsunami that you found out? >> i do not recall the specific time period. i think the question was, was i informed that he had invoked his emergency authorities?
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it was a very specific question about evocation of a lot. i indicated that a learned of that when the congress of congressional affairs responded to a request. i do not remember how many months after the event that was. >> we conducted an interview with the general counsel who took a different view. this is what he said, i have heard testimony they were not informed that the chairman was exercising his emergency power. the commissioners were informed that the operation center had gone into this monitoring mode soon after the fukushima event. the key concern was the reactors. that was march 12. i sat on a conference call in which the chairman told each commissioner, each was on the call, was explaining what was going on with respect to the reactors. commissioner, were you on that
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call? >> i was. if i may say, the general counsel's response indicated that we were reformed. -- we were informed. we were in monitoring mode. the misunderstanding is in my view, that does not correlate to indication of emergency abode is. -- invocation of all emergency authorities. the agency going into the monitoring both does not evoke those authorities. >> it seems obvious that the commission was operating an emergency operating centers, they were responding to an emergency. do you disagree with that? >> the agency has gone into the monitoring mode where the chairman has not invoked the americans the authorities. -- has not invoke the emergency of parties. i do not correlate being notified as an indication of those authorities. >> there was an emergency operation.
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is that right? >> yes. other than the term being the same, i apologize if my answer is complicated. is the agency going into a monetary mode does not invoke -- -- monitoring mode does not necessarily correlate or immediately invoked -- >> it is your objection you did not receive a paper stating, we are having an emergency? is that a fair statement? >> the significance of the indication is that under the reorganization plan, the chairman has taken the authorities of the commission as a whole. he is able to exercise singularly the authorities of the commission. i do see a distinction. >> could you clear that up? when did you inform them? -- that we were operating under the emergency provisions? >> the first action was on march 11.
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9:43 in the morning. one of my staff members indicated we were entering monitoring mode. a formal agency e-mail went out. i then, later that evening, this was all on the thursday, said in evening to my colleagues -- sent an e-mail to my colleagues informing them that we were in mccarren mode. i talked about our response and what we would do in. from that point on, we had meetings three times a day. their staff was briefed by members of our operations center. i held approximately once a day, and starting on march 12, briefings about our actions and describing what we are doing. >> thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. i go to the chairman of the subcommittee, mr. jordan, for five minutes. >> i thank the chairman.
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on october 13, you sent a letter to the white house chief of staff. that seems unprecedented that you would have two democrats, two republicans sent a letter to the chief of staff do you know -- of the white house about the activities of the chairman of this commission. do you know if there is any other examples of that happening, other commissions with the same action was taken? -- or the same kind of action was taken? >> i agree, it is an unprecedented action. i am not aware of a similar situation. >> you knew this was something that had not been done before. this was unprecedented. >> the four of us were not aware of any action. -- of any circumstance where another taken. >> you had several discussions about taking this unprecedented action? was there a time frame you talked about taking this action.
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>> we have had significant concerns for a couple of months. >> the committee report is in our report. concerns about how the report should be of value it did. there was concern among the four of us. we discussed our concerns with the chairman. we saw a step to remove a senior career person. -- attempts to remove the executive director of operations. we saw the october 5 meeting with the chairman made statements to senior executives that seemed to undermine the commission. that was crossing line from my standpoint. i think my colleagues agreed.
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>> well thought out, you said the situation was just taking this action. -- warrants us taking this unprecedented action. >> we had seen that our attempts had not yielded any difference in behavior. we felt we had the responsibility for the united states. >> can i go down the line? would you agree with the assessments given? >> yes, sir. i would. i would add that we had engaged in efforts to attempt to resolve some of these issues. >> very accurate. what it is accurate. >> we have a chart here, the five commissioners, the professional staff, this chart here, 30 different folks.
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you cannot testify for them. is it fair to say is that on this page has real concerns about the leadership style of mr. jaczko? >> i can tell you that prior to signing the letter, my other three colleagues will tell you the same thing, we had significant feedback from senior career leadership expecting great concerns about a lack of an open collaborative work environment. >> one more question. you stated in your testimony that it bothers you that some are alleging that the actions the four of you have taken are politically motivated. it is a stretch in the fact is two democrats and two republicans.
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the think the actions of the chairman have been politically motivated? his style of leadership, do you think that is politically driven? >> that is a difficult question. i have no evidence they are. i will tell you that we have seen a significant issue that we think is unacceptable. >> i am sorry. i think i did a better job on the name but i am struggling. >> i will not testify to political motivation. i would describe my motivation in signing that letter was on the conduct issues. >> fair enough. >> i would answer the question the same way. let's ok. >> my motivation was not political.
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>> do you think the chairman's was? >> i have no evidence. i think it is more his interpretation of his role as chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you. we now recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee. >> thank you. i want to quote from an article in politico, it says, behind closed doors they snipe at each other. in public, the question each of the's motives. in front of congress, they hang each other out to dry. that is like on the federal election commission. not the nrc. i would imagine that if we called up one commission after
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another, you would have some complaints that they not be dissimilar from what we have here. the difference is 104 nuclear power plants in various stages of licensing, some of which have some questions related to safety, seven months ago, may 11, 2011, i am frankly wondering why you are here. i appreciate the chairman calling the hearing. this is all very interesting. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i would make one point. the one big difference is i am sure they have those actions
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taking place inside of the fec. no commission has taken the action of having four members signed a letter and send it to the white house chief of staff. that is the difference and that is what the chairman has called this meeting. >> i thank the chairman for calling the hearing. i thank my friend for pointing that out. it is important for us to look beyond what we see and consider we have an industry in trouble. wall street will not invest in nuclear power. the nuclear industry came to this government to look for a $60 billion loan guarantee. the industry is in trouble. the commissioners are going to reflect what is going on in the industry. i would expect that what is happening here, that is why we need to look deeper into what we are hearing about the nrc and ask, what is going on with the industry? what do the titans of the industry have to say about the chairman? mr. jaczko, a store reported you -- associated press story
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reported you were worried that a nuclear plant operators may have become complacent. according to a press account, you said -- he said recent instances of human error have threatened the safety of some of the nation's nuclear facilities. workers almost got significant doses of radiation. the article reports that in addition, three other plants were shut down for safety reasons. this marks the first time in more than a decade that several plants have been shut down at the same time. can you elaborate on some of the specific events that have occurred recently and which ones trouble you the most and why? >> the offense with the worker
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exposure were very significant. it appears to indicate a lack of adherence to procedures. after i made those comments, i heard from industry officials. they may not have agreed with my assessment, they did it knowledge there is a change in the workforce in the nuclear industry. there are new workers. we are seeing some of these incidents in which the new workers may not have a full appreciation of the procedures. it is an important signal. it is not clear we are seeing a decline in safety. it is important that we need to keep a close eye on it as the year goes on and as we continue our oversight. >> is safety your top concern? >> it has been my number one priority.
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>> after fukushima, went through your mind about safety? >> i was proud of the staff at the nrc that we have worked hard for a long time to focus on safety. that accident reminded us that there is no way to rule of accidents. there is no way to prevent all kinds of serious incidents. we have to be more vigilant and dedicated than we have ever been. >> my time has expired. i ask consent to place in the record a staff report. >> whose staff report? >> a staff report by mr. markey. >> i will reserve but for a short period of time. it is another committee's report. it will only take a couple of minutes. we recognize the gentleman from
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utah. a state that gives us uranium. >> thank you. thank you for holding this meeting. you are aware of the letter that was sent to the white house to the chief of staff. there are five serious charges. intimidating and bling senior career staff, true or false? what i have not. >> i have not. >> ordered staff to modify recommendations? >> there was one occasion i discussed with a senior manager a recommendation he wanted to make on an issue. >> only one time? >> correct. >> intimidated the advisory committee on reactor safeguards? >> walz.
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>> faults. -- false. >> ignore the will of the majority of the commission? >> i have never ignored the will of the majority. >> interacted with us with such disrespect that the commission does not function as it should it? >> i am passionate about safety. i engage my colleagues in discussions about safety. that has been my style. >> in other words, they are all wrong. you are exactly right. >> i have listened very carefully to the concerns of my colleagues. >> and you have done nothing wrong? >> i have listened very carefully to the concerns of my colleagues. i am interested in continuing the dialogue with them. to better understand how we are not communicating effectively. >> let me continue. my time is short.
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it does not seem like any concern. -- any sort of repentance or concern for this. but you telling me, the office of the inspector general did a report, page 44, a portion of a sentence, "he provided three of the four commissioners with varying amounts of information." would you disagree? >> the inspector general found that my actions were consistent with the law. >> do you agree or disagree with the inspector general? he came in and looked at this and said the gay people burying amount of information. >> i disagree. >> i have to tell you, my colleagues, we talked about the safety, the security of this nation. the importance of the nuclear situation in this country. this should be bipartisan. the commission is bipartisan.
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we have people who are suffering under this gentleman. he is not putting up to the duties. -- living up to the duties. i do not believe it. i think safety is too important. i think you should resign. i believe in these commissioners. god bless for stepping up. quackswill the gentleman yield? what -- >> will the gentleman yield? >> i will not. it is important to get this it is too important to get this right. >> it is too important to get this right. an inspector general who goes out and looks at this. you are telling me, they are all wrong, you are right. that is a lack of leadership. i hope there is some sort of change. if you are going to do the right thing for your country and the commission, he should step down.
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>> i recognized that there could be disagreement on this. i do have the basic question, in light of this accusation, do you believe that you need to make changes in your management style and how you deal with your commissioners? and how you keep them informed? >> certainly, i am very interested in improving communication among the five of us. >> and if you had to do it again, would you have invoked emergency powers without consultation with this commission? >> all of the actions i took in regard to the japan response in general, i am very comfortable with. >> ok, so you are comfortable with an event on the other side of the world taking away these people's rights to have full and complete access and a vote? you are comfortable doing that
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without consultation, even though, in fact, it there was no direct threat to the united states and they were available? you are comfortable in not consulting with them? >> ok, that says it all. >> the time has expired. the time has expired. >> is that not interesting? >> finish answering? no, no, i did not cut him off. >> i am not sure if you were asking the question or if you wanted a response. >> i asked you if you were comfortable with not consulting, and you said you were comfortable with not consulting, you're comfortable with what you did, when, in fact, it was pretty extraordinary, and it was an event on the other side of the world, and this lady and gentleman were available, and yet, they did not seem to know that their powers had been usurped so that you could run the show, even though you are not a nuclear engineer, and
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several of these people are, so are you still comfortable with that? >> well, i am very comfortable with the actions as an agency, and i did provide a tremendous amount of information to my colleagues, including personally greeting them about the status of our response and the issues we were looking at. their staff was fully aware in multiple briefings that they were provided, sometimes up to four times a day, on all the issues we were looking at, and again, when we are in an emergency situation like this, the authorities are transferred to the chairman in order to ensure timely decision making, and the event in japan i think demonstrated that that was the appropriate way to respond. >> we now recognize the gentleman from massachusetts. >> we generally get along pretty well. when there is one minute and 20
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seconds on the clock, and you are asked to yield, it does not really speak to a bipartisanship approach in a hearing like this, and i was going to ask you whether or not to totally disregard the inspector general's findings or wish us to. if this were to be a bipartisan hearing, then i would think we would put some weight on the inspector general's conclusions, which are contrary -- >> will the gentleman yield? will the gentleman yield? >> yes, i will. >> he said he disagreed with the inspector general, that the inspector general was wrong. >> i think he disagreed with one. but agreed fully with the final conclusions of the report. notwithstanding sections 1 and two of this plan, they are hereby transferred to the chairman all the functions pertaining to an emergency concerning a particular facility, regulated by the commission, including responded, issuing orders, determining the specific
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policies, directing the public and coordinating efforts relative to such an emergency. >> will the gentleman yield? >> in the end, i will, if i have time. if congress enacted legislation that said the chairman would be the spokesman and thereby transferred all of the functions that i read, and it is possible that they delegate authority under subsection b, and informed them to what is related. they shall run a complete and timely report. mr. chairman, did you do those things? >> i did, and i believe i did much more. >> what i think is that there is a disagreement of what the powers the chairman has in the statute. that seems to be an underlying factor, and that is not a new disagreement. i go all of the way back to 1999, 1990 report on this
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ambiguity we have on the chairman's role in the commission's role continues, and it goes on. a less than harmonious interaction. it seems the members of the commission always think they have more responsibility, and since they have a large role, and the policy decides but the full commission, and management resides with the chair. it seems to be the same thing going on now. i look at a report going on in the commerce and energy committee, and i am troubled, troubled by the fact that his conclusion in that report draws some very concerning point. he says after all of the records that he asked for, voting records, emails, memoranda, materials related to the event at fukushima or the nic's response to it, he said the attempted to delay or otherwise affected, he says they conspired with each other to delayed the release of an all to
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the task force report on fukushima. he says that the other commissioners attempted to slow down or otherwise impede the adoption of the safety recommendations made by a task force, and he said the chairman, greg jaczko, kept people informed and that a review of documents indicate high levels of suspicion and hostility directed at the chairman. in consideration of the safety upgrades, it is not the only safety-related issue that the other commissioners have opposed. that concerns me. it concerns me when four members have findings like this by another member with his staff, and we come in here and sort of they're up on one. it seems we have a problem with everybody here.
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people have to work with some respect. it is on president that they would send a letter to the white house chief of staff. i am not sure it is a good president, as opposed to trying to work things out. mr. chairman, any of these six items i read, do they seem to be accurate? >> well, it has been challenging a thing to move forward on some of the task force regulations, and i would not want to -- i think we have had some challenges. >> the event at fukushima? >> there is definitely an attempt to prevent release of the report. >> there is certainly a disagreement about providing a transparently to the public. in the end, the majority of the commission wound up providing the report. there was a lot of internal
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disagreement. >> i yield to the chairman. >> your time has expired, and you did not give me any, and i understand how important your question was. with that, go to oklahoma. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks for being here. as others have mentioned before, this is a tough spot to come to to talk about and have functioning conversations because we have a tough time in congress ourselves. the issues remain that the decisions that made are significant in this, and i want you to know that we appreciate the work that you do from day to day. this has got to be worked out. it is an unprecedented action to say this could affect safety if we do not work this out. so thanks for coming forward on it. thank you for working with us. with that, let me ask you a question. you made a statement that
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safety is the top concern. tell me your nuclear background, just a brief statement. i have your biography. but make a brief statement. >> most is in the government. i worked as a political appointee, and i was in charge of the nuclear infrastructure associated with the civilian nuclear technology program, and there were 25 of contractors. there was a spot where we were overseeing the reactor operations. >> any of those operations, in this environment, i assume you have very competent people around you that are all well studied, all well researched, and to have disagreements on things. has something like this occurred in other places you have work to say you have four or five colleagues that disagree, and it breaks out in something like this? have you seen something like this in the past?
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>> no, i have not seen that. >> my concern is that this is not just an issue of disagreement. my concern is that this is how things are led by one individual or another. i appreciate your statement saying you are passionate about safety and that all of these arguments and disagreements and lack of communication breaks down to the fact about your passion about safety, but this of its two that you are more passionate about safety than everyone else is, so it just becomes more heated. you are more passionate about safety than the other commissioners? >> well, congressman, -- >> r. anymore, but it and more passionate about safety than the other commissioners? >> that is certainly not a judgment i would make, but i am
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passionate about safety. >> more so than the others around you? you look at them, and you say they lead other directions, aside from safety, that i am more passionate about safety, is that your concern? >> i would leave it to others to judge. >> i am asking for your opinion because it leads to your management style. do you consider yourself more passionate about safety than your colleagues, yes or no? >> i am not sure how i would describe more or less passionate, but i am passionate about safety, and that is the best i can tell you. >> that is a nice, safe answer. i am just asking a question because if in the back of your mind, if you're thinking of this is really going to be done right, all i am going to have to do it, because they are not as passionate as i am, because i am trying to figure out why
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some people get information and other peoples do not, and it's filtered through, because if you have in the back of your mind that i am concerned for our nuclear safety, so i have to filter what gets to them because it may not be right, i just wanted to know, because that does affect your own record, so yes or no, are you more passionate about safety than others, or do you have a concern that some other commissioner is not as concerned about safety as you are? >> in regard to the information coming to the commission, if that is the basis, the commission gets policy matters and i am rarely involved in information. >> let me ask you a second question. there is a statement that has been made that you reportedly at one moment said about the two other democratic appointee
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is that we democrats have to stick together on a vote. is that a statement that you made? >> i do not recall making that. >> ok, my time has expired. >> will the gentleman yield? >> yes, i will. >> do you have sourcing for that statement? >> my time has expired. >> chairman, a piece of administrative business. the chairman from ohio has asked for the individual members to report, a place in the record. i have no objections. i do have a request that goes with it. in reviewing it, you delivered it to one of your former employers, and you delivered to him unredacted information beyond what this committee received through our request. would you give to was in the
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same unredacted formed everything, i repeat everything, that was responsive to mr. markey? >> absolutely. as you know, we have provided a large number of documents. >> i appreciate that, but providing documents less productive than we did, i have no problem with this being placed in the record, but in order to make the record complete, we would need to have the same information, which we do not have today, and quite frankly, we expect normally that what is redacted is redacted for good and proper reasons, and there should be no reason whatsoever unless there are demands for unredaction, so if you say that, i withdraw my reserve. >> i think the chair for putting that in the record, and i think we should be able to receive additional information. >> i think members on both
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sides. >> i can only speak for the documents that were in my possession. some of them may have been provided by other members of the commission. i am certainly not aware of any documents that were redacted differently, but again, i can only speak to those. >> the good news is that one and i know about the executive branch, you do this very carefully. i am sure we will not have a problem getting the same information, and sometimes people interpret what somebody once differently than somebody else. in this case, we want everything that mr. markey wanted for the same reason of doing our job. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is quite a spectacle to have five members of the commission arguing about management style before a committee of congress that in and of itself erodes confidence in the function of
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the commission. one does not know who has done what to whom and how important it is. the suggestion of easily by having a hearing is this has the potential effect of undermining that confidence, and obviously, the chairman is the target. i regret that, because i think we are at risk of trivializing your mission. it may be less about management style and more about the mission and how well or how poorly the nrc has carried out that relationship, it's cozy relationship with industry, its ability to cogently take lessons learned from tragedies, such as fukushima. its ability to reassure the
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public of safety and safety standards at nuclear power plants, and its ability to show demonstrable, clearly independent from the industry it regulates. it is just as a viable what is going on here is that we have a chairman who takes the mission seriously, as it is to say we have a chairman -- his fellow commissioners. i do not know what the truth is, but i do think this hearing ought to try to get to it. chairman jaczko, do you see a philosophical difference between the fellow commissioners about to go about it? >> we do have a lot of different approaches as to what we believe is safe and how we define safety, and i think that is clear in the different votes that we cast and the positions that we take.
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>> specifically with fukushima, you answered a question about fukushima a little while ago to the colleagues, and you confirm that there was an attempt to perhaps bury some of the findings of that study and/or to aggressively look at lessons learned from the single worst nuclear disaster in history. >> we did have a disagreement. >> you did. you did. is that what you said? >> that is correct. >> ok, go ahead. >> about whether or not the report should be reviewed by the commission prior to ever being released publicly. >> what was the nature of that dispute? >> it was simply that i believe it should be made publicly available, so the public could see. >> your commissioners disagreed with that? >> there were some disagree and
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wanted to report and perhaps acted on the commission before it was released publicly. >> on the 23rd, we had an earthquake on the east coast, which surprised everyone, including in my home state of virginia. we had a close call at the north anna nuclear power plant as a result of that earthquake, which did generally cosmetic and minor structural damage up and down the east coast, but it was a reminder that nuclear power can be vulnerable to seismic activity. that plant was deemed as exceeding its design basis. can you explain that to us, and what was the nature of the concern after the august 23 earthquake? >> when they are designed, and they pick up the characteristics of the earthquake, and this is to be able to withstand that type of
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event, and the earthquake, in fact, was bigger than the earthquake that was hypothesized in the original design of the facility, so there was some shaking of the building that was larger than what was originally in the original analysis for the plan. >> potentially compromising safety? >> it certainly had the potential to compromise safety. >> other things that were similarly affected or could have been? >> we did not see anything that is directly impacted because that was very close to the center of the earthquake. it was certainly possible that they could have experienced effects from the earthquake. >> what action did the nrc take, and was the commission in agreement or in disagreement about those? >> the commission or the agency
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really reviewed the safety of the facility, and ultimately, it was a staff physician to determine whether or not the facility should we start, and i was very clear with the staff that they needed to do what was appropriate for safety, and, in fact, the commission held information briefing. and there was a strong showing of the commission working as a body. >> centrally? >> yes. >> my time has expired. i hope we have a chance to explore that more. >> thank you, chairman. i will recognize myself and ask the commissioners a series of quick questions and expectations, hopefully equally quick answers. to discharge --
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>> i am concerned about where this is being compromised. >> that you lost confidence in his ability to lead? >> yes, on the basis of his interpersonal context, i have. >> commissioner, same two questions to you. have you lost confidence in his ability to lead? >> that is a very complicated question and hard to answer yes-no. i am sorry. i think that over the time that i have been a commissioner, i have been able to get information that gives me enough confidence to make votes and decisions. there have been times when getting the information has been more difficult than i think it should have been. my biggest concern is that
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there is always the chance that there is some piece of information that i did not know existed and never got, so as far as i know, i have had the ability to make decisions. i have questions. i have doubts. i have concerns. >> commissioner ostendorff, my questions about the chairman's style has been primarily about the interface with our nrc staff. he has been abrasive. he uses the term passionate. i will say it has prevented staff from feeling comfortable they can bring forward their best things to the commission, and from that standpoint, i think that is a grave concern. >> have you lost confidence in his ability to lead >> at this stage, i have. -- >> at this stage,

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